An analysis of West German literature as it tries to come to terms with the holocaust and its impact on post-war German society.
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The Language of Silence

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An analysis of West German literature as it tries to come to terms with the holocaust and its impact on post-war German society.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Schlant, a specialist in German literature, has written a study of West German literature and its relation to the Holocaust, focusing on non-Jewish German authors writing between 1949 and 1990. She discusses the Holocaust as a total war against the Jews and the writings of the period as a literature of silence, evasion, and blindness. Bll, Grass, Koeppen, Kluge, Schlink, and Sebald are some of the authors discussed. Schlant gives novels about fathers (vaterliteratur) written between 1975 and 1981 a separate chapter, and Ortheils A Farewell to the War Veterans receives a close and sustained reading. Lenzs autobiographical novel New Times, about the fighting on the Eastern Front, is examined as a narrative, especially as regards what is left out, disfigured, or silenced. A chapter on speeches and controversy is especially good in discussing not only the written word but also the causes, development, understanding, and psychological repression of the reality of the Holocaust. An excellent study; highly recommended for German and Jewish studies collections. [Schlant is the wife of presidential hopeful Bill Bradley.Ed.]Gene Shaw, NYPL
Analyzes strategies employed in German literature to repress or deny knowledge of the Holocaust and to face up to the crimes of the Nazi regime, and looks at motivations behind those strategies. Focus is on non-Jewish writers from the postwar period to the present. Addresses efforts, failures, conscious agendas, and unspoken assumptions of West German authors, and shows how silences enveloping the Holocaust speak the language of ambiguity, instability, and absence. Chapters are arranged chronologically. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
R. Z. Sheppard
Formally, the book is a study of postwar West German literature. But it has a stinging moral premise: that even the country's most liberal writers of the period commited sins of omission when dealing with the legacy of mass murder. Schlant's evidence is eye opening.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780203010099
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/4/1999
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 907 KB

Meet the Author

Ernestine Schlant is Professor of German at Montclair State University. She is author of Hermann Broch (1978) and editor of Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan (1986).
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The First Postwar Decade: Heinrich Boll, Wolfgang Koeppen 21
2 Documentary Literature: Alexander Kluge, Gunter Grass 51
3 Autobiographical Novels: Generational Discord 80
4 Autobiographical Novels: Hanns-Josef Ortheil 99
5 The War on the Eastern Front: Hermann Lenz 123
6 Ruptures and Displacements: Gert Hofmann 149
7 Restitution of Personal Identity? Alfred Andersch, Peter Hartling, Gert Hofmann 166
8 Speeches and Controversies 188
9 Post-Unification: Bernhard Schlink, Peter Schneider, W. G. Sebald 209
Conclusion 235
Notes 245
Selected Bibliography 262
Index 273
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